Sunday, 21 February 2010

Slippery slopes

I've spent the last few breakfast times watching the Winter Olympics skiing. The Downhill is almost beyond comprehension for recreational skiers, it's a sport for supermen. This rather fuzzy video (it's from 1995, when video was steam powered) gives a skier's view of the Dave Murray Downhill course at Whistler. (Check out a skier's view of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic downhill for a better example of the skier's view of a downhill.)

Super G is different; it and the standard GS are set to reproduce the lines that a good skier would take down a hill, with long radius and occasional medium radius turns. Super G is wider and faster, like a cross between GS and Downhill. The last two mornings we have seen the mens and womens Super G for the Super Combined medals; Super G in the morning and slalom in the afternoon provide a more realistic assessment of skiing talent. Today it's the regular Super G for women, and we've seen some amazing skiing on hard shiny ice; and several spectacular crashes. The sound of the skis on hard ice brings a clenching of the bowels, even on TV at this distance.

Lindsey Vonn, Womens Downhill gold and Super G bronze medals so far, drops a hand for stability as she makes a turn on her inside ski - probably doing 90-100km/hr! She still has GS and slalom to come, so she could have two more medals by the end of the games.

Right: Vonn at the medal ceremony for her Downhill gold.

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